For absolute curiosity I typed ‘How to plan a novel’ into Google and the first thing it chucks back at me is The Snowflake Method. Despite being aware of the current negative use of the word ‘snowflake’ on the internet I read the article through. It’s actually provided me with a lot to think about whilst getting the structure together for the novel.
For those not wanting to go through the full depths of the link above the basic method is to start with a fifteen word sentence about your story and then work outwards. Taking each section of expanding it bit by bit until it grows and fills any gaps you may have had to begin with. It’s apparently the same method as writing software programmes. I can only imagine the bug testing that might have to go on afterwards though.
The start of the process, writing the one sentence summary of your story, took me about three attempts until I got something that I felt comfortable with. For the last couple of nights I’ve been writing up the three main characters. Having a full page in a notebook with their goals and obstacles clearly marked is something of an eye opener. Once again I fear I’ve fallen into my trap of having a cracking premise for an opening but not really knowing how to end it all in a satisfactory manner. I’m knocking through it though, there’s certainly something there.